'Modi's Bahrain visit extension of historical ties'

Manama, Aug 22 (IANS) The Bahrain cabinet has welcomed the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the kingdom, the first prime ministerial visit from India, saying it will provide a strong impetus to the long-standing friendly relations between the two countries.

Modi's visit is an extension of the historical relations between Bahrain and India and is seen by the Bahrain cabinet as "a great opportunity to bolstering bilateral cooperation at various levels," Gulf News reported the President of the Bahrain Council of Representatives, Fawzia Zainal, as saying.

"Bahrain is proud of its long-standing relations with India, which has contributed to strengthening the infrastructure of both countries and building bridges of cooperation in various fields.

"We look forward to this historic visit to further cooperation... We welcome all leaders who carry appreciation and respect towards Bahrain and its people, and there is no doubt that this visit will have positive reflections for Bahrain and the region," she added.

Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa visited India in February 2014, during which the two countries signed bilateral trade and investment agreements worth $450 million.

Relations between India and Bahrain go back several decades and the Bahrain-India Society was launched in Manama in December 2007 to promote ties between the two countries.

Business and community leaders in Bahrain have also welcomed the August 24-25 visit of Modi.

"As such, this is a milestone in Bahraini-Indian relations. It shows the deepening ties between both nations and underscores the significance of Bahrain in India's West Asia policy," said Yousuf Ali M.A, Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group.

"For the nearly 400,000-strong Indian diaspora in the kingdom, which has contributed so richly to the growth of modern Bahrain, this is a crowning moment and a celebration of ties between India and the most harmonious, peaceful, prosperous and tolerant countries in the world," he added.

He also said the visit will help strengthen the socio-cultural ties as well as the warm personal camaraderie between the leaders of India and Bahrain.

According to the LuLu Group Chairman, "as India marches towards its ambitious goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy, the Kingdom of Bahrain too will undoubtedly play a key role in this, thanks to already existing trade ties, proximity, large Indian diaspora and above all the personal and warm friendship between the great leadership of both nations."

--IANS

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